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« Private Sector Still Skeptical Over The United Kingdom’s Green Investment Bank | Main | Running Out of Resources: Countries Need To Learn How To Do More With Less, Says The U.N. »

The United Kingdom's Green Revolution Stalling?

While the global recession has cut jobs across every industry in all countries, one of the worst hit has been the environmental sector in the United Kingdom, according to the Environmental Data Services’ latest report.

Stock graphic.

David Carr, the report’s assistant editor, finds that “public spending cuts and a sluggish economy are now hitting green collar jobs, but some growth is expected.”

Growth prospects in green jobs are most likely to be seen in legislation-driven sectors such as waste, energy, efficiency, and sustainability – especially those areas related to carbon reduction.

Despite this, major job losses are under way at government departments and councils across the country. “Environmental roles are not being spared the axe,” says Carr.

Experts are blaming economic weakness, public spending cuts, and a lack of policy clarity for undermining the UK’s progress towards a greener economy.

The report finds that, “The public sector is being particularly hard hit. More than three quarters of those in public administration roles said their organization’s environmental employment levels are falling.”

Those expected to profit from these cuts are private sector companies that do outsourcing work.

The report finds that, “A handful of respondents said their organization’s environmental job numbers would rise because of the spending cuts. They were found mostly among consultancies and service providers, some of which may see employment growth as councils and government departments outsource activities to the private sector.”

Many are also looking for hope in the UK’s Green Investment Bank, which has been given the task of attracting private funds for financing the private sector’s investments in environmental preservation and improvement.

Vince Cable, the UK’s secretary of state for business, innovation and skills, last month published a detailed plan for the bank. The initial capitalization of the bank will be £3 billion and the bank will invest with and through the private sector and “tackle risks which the private sector cannot adequately finance,” said Cable in speech.

“In this way, the bank will mobilize projects significantly in excess of the government’s contribution. With the funding provided in this Parliament, the Green Investment Bank could mobilize an extra £15 billion of private investments,” continued Cable.

While a lot of hope and promise exists for the bank, there’s also an expected wariness. “Investors want certainty. The Green Investment Bank must have teeth if it’s going to deliver our new infrastructure,” said John Cridland, director of the Confederation of British Industry.

“I want it delivering growth, large-scale mainstream economic growth. I want it delivering low-carbon infrastructure, leveraging the £450 billion we need by 2025. That will bring jobs and opportunities to the UK,” added Cridlannd.

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